Doll Sculptures : A Creative Way to Upcycle Found Objects – Stephanie Brockway

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Stephanie Brockway is a self-taught primitive-style modern folk artist who has been making art since 1978. Her work is shown at RiverSea Gallery in Astoria, Oregon, and Guardino  Gallery in Portland. She has been featured on OPB’s Oregon Art Beat and made an appearance in an episode of HGTV.  She is well known on the internet for making unique & creative doll sculptures by upcycling found objects, giving rebirth to discarded items.

For several years Stephanie Brockway has been showcasing her artwork throughout the Pacific  Northwest. Her work has been published in national art doll magazines and has national popularity among folk art collectors. 

Her artwork and sustainability go hand in hand. She coaxes faces from old tools, newel posts,  and a freshly discovered millinery form while working intuitively in her studio. She says, “To  me, I like the energy of a past life – elevating the forgotten into something beautiful.” 

Once carved, the faces of the characters she creates seem to come to life with charisma and character. She believes that wood, as a medium for carving and painting, contains energy that comes from its once being a living source material. The distinct characteristics of each piece of wood she used to add dimension and character to her one-of-a-kind works. Brockway says,  “So, as I carve, it just kind of comes to life. … I just listen to the wood,”. 

The majority of the artworks are interactive and moveable. Each sculpture is created from a  unique blend of carved wood, clay, metal, glass, found objects, and paint. Brockway soon realizes what she’s looking for. There’s a significant resemblance to its previous life, but there’s also a dazzling new energy from the artist’s hand. Her art focuses on sustainability in contemporary art, as she is aware of the art world’s impact  on the environment and its obsession with “perfection.” 

Brockway says, “I kind of just want something fun and interesting — maybe a face people didn’t expect to see,” says further adds, “I never go for perfection. I like the artist’s fingerprints  on the piece.” She prefers simplicity in an extremely mass-produced society. 

She began this work as a fun challenge to use up items she had accumulated over the years for her assemblage sculpture art. She wished to create giant animals in need of protection,  as well as allow people to interact with rhinos, elephants, and giraffes! And produce a pleasant,  joyous collection of work while the world recovers from a difficult year due to the Pandemic.

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